Did you know that February is heart health month? That’s right, an entire month dedicated to your ticker!
Your heart is THE hardest working muscle in the body.
So we want to focus your attention on how you can be more heart healthy and keep your own heart health in mind during daily exercise.
Simply put, prevention is the best form of medicine. And, if you’re not convinced yet, just take a look at what our friends at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have to say about heart disease:
“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; one in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, equal to 2,200 deaths per day.” (www.cdc.gov)
So let’s stay ahead of the game and take a look at exactly how we can keep our heart healthy through daily exercise.
Here are just a few ways you can do just that!
INTERVAL TRAINING OR HITT
According to cardiologist, Dr. Arthur Agatston,
“Interval training …is unrivaled for preventing heart disease…and efficiently improving fitness.”
Interval training, or high intensity interval training (HIIT) couples short bursts of intense activity with rest periods. Dr. Agatston states that, “continuously raising and lowering your heart rate improves vascular function, burns calories, and makes the body more efficient at clearing fat and sugar from the blood.”
And here are just a few examples:
“Give them kettlebells H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks for a healthier heart”
Kettlebells are an incredibly fun way to switch things up and incorporate interval training into your exercise routine. Do be mindful, however, and if you’ve never worked with them; be sure to ask for help or instruction from a trainer or certified expert.
TOTAL BODY NON-IMPACT WORK
Ok, so what exactly does this mean? Think about movements or sport that recruit a heck of a lot of muscles to perform, but are very low to no-impact by nature. Some great examples are rowing, swimming, and cross-country skiing. But, why does this type of movement matter? Non-impact means it protects your joints while total body means you’re recruiting more muscles to perform which ultimately strengthens the heart. These, like all the exercises we’re looking at today, pack a double punch!
“Don’t put your heart against the ropes; BATTLE for it!”
Much like interval training, the ropes incorporate nearly every muscle in the body and activate your core for stability and balance. Does it get any better? Time your intervals with the ropes like this – 20-30 seconds on with everything you’ve got, coupled with 40-60 seconds of rest. Repeat a minimum of 10 times.
“Row, row, row your boat…”
I have a love/hate relationship with this machine? Why? Because it tests me and puts me out of my comfort zone. But that’s why I do it. You’re not going to get stronger by sitting in your comfort zone. So…I row. J
An oldie, but goodie, and my personal fave. Weight training is really just another form of interval training. You quickly increase your heart rate during reps and recover between sets. And by building a strong base over time, those muscles ease the burden on the heart.
“Deadlift against heart disease”
I love the traditional deadlift. And just think about it for a second. The deadlift is a complex exercise. The more complex the movement, the more muscles you engage. Winning!
“Row your way to a healthy heart”
Using free weights over machines is also a great way to recruit more muscles, engage your core and build balance. (prevention.com)
“Weight training gives you wings…not Redbull”
Don’t forget to incorporate the cables, too, for a dynamic way to switch up your weight training and engage more of your accessory muscles.
These are just a few examples for how you can raise that heart rate and create a stronger, healthier heart and body. Comment below and tell us what’s your favorite way to get your heart rate up!
Prevention.com, 8 Best & Worst Exercises for Your Heart: A Cardiologist Explains: http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/heart-healthy-exercises
Christine is a Women’s Physique Competitor of 6 years. She has roots in Wisconsin and currently resides in Colorado where you can find her hard at work in the Orthopedics Department at UCHealth.
She is an avid “14er” summiting the peaks of the Southern Rocky Mountain Front Range in her spare time. She has her sights on completing all of Colorado’s 14ers (the mountain peaks above 14,000 feet of which there are 58) in the next two years. A strong advocate for women’s health, she is also a personal trainer with special interest in pediatric and women’s fitness, nutrition and bodybuilding. Christine attributes much of her success to having built a strong foundation of knowledge from her peers, mentors and experts; as well as her fellow athletes.
Christine loves participating in the success of others and does everything she can to help them smash their goals!
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